March: New Life
March: a month in which winter and spring play games of cat-and-mouse. Long, cold, dark winter nights start to lose their grip, becoming ragged on the edges. Every morning, the oblique winter rays shift a degree or two, slipping into the morning dawn a little earlier, shining a little brighter; and every evening the sinking rays indignantly hold on to dusk a little longer, daring the winter night to chase them back to bed. Every day, the sun stands a little straighter, growing in strength, gently but firmly reaching ever further into cold shadows long held captive by winter’s cold sway. Skies long draped in dull slate grey, or heaped in dark quilts, threatening snowy storms, or, at best, thinly spread with pale blue sheets back-dropping the sun’s pale yellow orb, joyfully begin to respond to the sun’s new-found energy. The shades of grey begin to give way to deepening, warmer blues as the sun shines brighter and brighter.
True, winter does not give up easily, and just when the earth is casting off its winter cloak, a sudden blast of icy wind whips up, splattering sharp, icy raindrops, or stirring up a wild flurry of huge, wet, swirling white flakes. But these final blasts of winter’s fury are soon melted by spring’s gentle warmth, and sink into the earth, which short days earlier was icy and frozen, but now opens it lips, thirstily drinking in the melting ice and snow.
The moisture and growing warmth soon awaken the seeds and roots which have been in hibernation. Trees and bushes, long bare and bleak, suddenly are coated green, new-born fuzzy. Those that will bear fruit soon burst into blooms of whites and pinks. Grass, dry, yellowed and flattened, imperceptibly yet steadily takes on a glow as a myriad of tiny, soft, fresh green blades push up everywhere. In the garden, grey-brown, lumpy, seemingly dead soil miraculously dampens, crumbles, turns a dark loamy brown. Small, sharp green daggers push up overnight, and within a few short days have burst into the bright, cheerful whites and blues and purples and reds and yellows of snow-drops and hyacinths, soon to be followed by daffodils and tulips. Everywhere, the intoxicating aromas of new growing things overwhelm the senses, bringing energy and excitement. In woods, meadows and farmyards, mammals bring forth their young, and birds, singing joyfully, busily fly to and fro building new nests and laying bright, multi-colored eggs that will soon crack open exposing chirpy little chicks.
Gazing around at this incredible time of change, of new life rising out of long nights of cold and death-like darkness, the human heart that has heard the voice and call of God cannot help but leap with joy. And recognizing the handiwork and love of our great Creator God who is the source and the renewer of all life, the soul who has received new life granted through His gift of salvation cannot help but shout and sing out with gladness, “Hallelujah! The Lord God Almighty reigns for ever and ever!”
Just as this month is a time of new and renewed life, so our church is entering into a new phase of life. God has granted us a new place in this particular time. Let us focus our eyes upon the Giver of Life, and upon the circumstances He has placed before us. Let us see around us the people and needs He sees, the way He sees them, right here in this community, indeed in this very neighborhood. Let us say to our Lord, “Here I am, use me, right here, every day, in this very place and time.” If we thus abandon ourselves to God’s own will and purposes, He will give so much new abounding life, that we will be filled with joy. We will know of a surety that God Himself has visited us and has, amazingly, used us, weak as we are, to fulfill His mighty plans and purposes in His own amazing way, to spread new life here and now, to help build and spread His Kingdom to the ends of the earth!
Date: March 2006